Tag Archives: advertising

Marketing Or Advertising Your Business

Yesterday I gave a presentation on the above topic to a consultant’s group I belong to, The Professional Consultant’s Association of Central New York. I’m also on the board, write the monthly newsletter, and I’m the webmaster of their website.

Anyway, it was interesting talking to these folks, most of whom are older than I am (scary since I’m 50), and though I got through it all, it seems they all got hung up initially on social media and just what its purpose was. One guy kept asking the question “did you get any business out of it”, to which I could answer to each one “yes”. He didn’t ask if I got a lot of business out of it, but he was missing the point.

The idea of doing things online isn’t always to immediately get a return on your investment (ROI). Yeah, that would be pleasurable, but the truth is that unless you’re already well known, or fill a need that the market has nowhere else to turn to, it will take some time before you really start making money. Sometimes it takes years, but I digress.

The basic thing about marketing a small business as opposed to a large business is that you probably don’t have a budget set for advertising. Oh yeah, let’s get the definitions of the two terms out of the way, just to be clear. Marketing is planning for how you want others to learn about your business and products. Advertising is money spent on producing materials to help you market your business and products.

Small businesses usually start out doing the same thing because it’s the only thing we know. We buy a lot of business cards, which isn’t so bad except often we haven’t fully defined ourselves before we buy the first batch. We either buy or make brochures, which means we spend a lot of money buying supplies or paying someone else to design and copy these suckers. We buy a lot of paper and envelopes to attack things that way. And we try to make endless calls (well, those who have the mettle to do it; I don’t) trying to talk to people who won’t return phone calls. It’s a tough life sometimes.

What we all eventually find out is that, through some kind of networking, we finally have a chance to make some money and do some business with others. It can be a long struggle for some of us, whereas others find success pretty quickly. There is no one way that it happens for everyone.

It’s the same with marketing online. We have read some of the stories of marketers who seemed to hit the ground running into success with internet marketing, and that’s good for those folks. But that’s not the norm. Even Darren Rowse didn’t make money initially, and it probably took him a couple of years to really ramp up his empire, so to speak. And here’s the next part; almost none of these guys continued making money the way they started out making money.

Don’t believe me? Joel Comm started out making money through Adsense; he’s moved on from there. So has Darren Rowse, who actually makes his money through many other services rather than just blogging. Lynn Terry and David Risley make most of their money in other ways than blogging, and John Chow has always said he makes more money from other sources than just blogging. Everyone has to be ready to diversify in some fashion to keep making money; you can only prime this particular pump so many times before the effect wears off. Think about 10 big name internet marketers from 6 years ago, then think of how many of them you still see on a regular basis, unless you’ve stayed on their mailing list forever. If you need to, check out Gurudaq, which I wrote about back in October 2008.

Enough of that. I figure that some might be interested in my outline for the presentation, and at the risk of someone stealing it, well, I really don’t care this time around, although it seems some of my content has been stolen by a site calling itself Lua Cheia (they stole an entire article from my business blog; I wrote them and they said it’s a version of Digg & Stumble Upon, only I got no attribution; here’s the link to it if you want to see it, but I’m not making it an active link: http://luacheia.soup.io/post/44468305/When-Protecting-Your-Reputation-Isn-t-Worth). Anyway, here’s the outline; enjoy, and do NOT ask me where I got the statistics from, as I just took the first stat I found on each of these from wherever I could find it.

Traditional Marketing Ideas

1. Mail
     A. Letters
     B. Flyers
     C. Postcards

2. Printed Materials
     A. Flyers
     B. Brochures
     C. Business Cards

3. Networking
     A. Join Groups
     B. Get On Committees
     C. Work on getting people to know you

4. Hire someone to market you
     A. Agency
     B. Sales people

5. Phone calls

6. Media
     A. Magazines/Newspaper
     B. Radio
     C. Television

New Ways Of Marketing

1. Email

2. Websites

3. Blogs

4. Social Networking

5. Speaking/presenting

Costs of Advertising

1. Printed materials can cost a lot of money

2. Cost of postage

3. Costs of joining groups

4. Costs of labor in hiring others

5. Websites can be expensive to create, but are easy to change

6. Blogs are inexpensive to create and maintain, but still need to “advertise” in another way

7. Social media is free, but can be time consuming

8. Email is free, but some people don’t respond well to it

Effectiveness/ROI

1. Mailings only convert at an average of around 1%, and only if you submit in high volume

2. Business cards only convert at an average of around 2%, but once again, volume drives the figures

3. Websites have a 2.5% conversion rate, based on high traffic

4. Blogs can help conversion rates go up by 3% if you have a niche market

5. Email converts at less than 1% for people you don’t know, around 25% for people you do know

6. Phone calls convert around 2 to 3% for product based companies, less for service based companies

7. Speaking engagements convert around 1% initially, but can increase to 5% over time for some

8. Networking converts at around 1% short term, but can increase to 5% over time for some

9. Advertising on media depends on product & location; products always do better than services

10.No figures on social networking yet, but people have gotten business from it

What Personally Affects How / What We Do

1. Comfort level

2. Finances
     A. What can we afford to spend on stuff
     B. How much in need are we of making money “now”

3. Control

4. Knowing our market too well / too little

5. Trying too hard / giving up

Big Question – What do you do in marketing/advertising & how does it work for you? Are you missing ways that might be beneficial to you long term?

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December Income Report – Something To Build On For 2010

At least I can say that December was better than November. Actually, my December income was higher than October also, so maybe I should just shut up. But I really have to drastically increase these numbers in 2010, and I need to get it done quickly, though not necessarily through this blog. But this blog should be generating something, I figure, so some changes will be made.

First, the income numbers:

Adsense – $60.04
Commission Junction – $5.17
Infolinks – $14.84
Firetrust – $14.97
Voxant – $.01
Grand Total – $95.03

So, I made just under $100, which means I was under average for the year. This doesn’t bode well for my 2010 goals, but so be it; we all have to start somewhere, right?

First, you’re probably wondering where the income is from the book I helped promote, Beyond Blogging. I got one person who signed up under me as an affiliate, but that’s as far as it went. I don’t even know if anyone clicked on any of the links, to tell you the truth. All I know is that I didn’t make any sales, though I said I’d consider my part as being successful if there were even 3 sales. No problem; I’m still going to list the book over there on the side for awhile.

Second, I think it’s time for some physical changes to this blog on how I’m advertising things. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do, but I do know that some of the affiliate ads you see now will be removed. There will still be a product or link of some kind at the end of each post, with more products than in the past, and more links to products within a post if something fits. Unfortunately, products don’t always have anything to do with the post, and I’m not going to try to be conscious enough to do that because, well, that just ain’t me. I also want to concentrate on finding more ways of driving traffic to my products, which you see here, but I know that I’m going to have to change up those sales pages to draw more visitors from search engines as well.

Third, I know I’m going to do something with both my Reviews of Everything and Services & Stuff sites, where I’m going to create more sales pages within both of those. My Reviews site will have reviews of some of the affiliate programs I have, since I know something about many of them, and when I review a product, I’m going to make sure to only advertise that product on a page. That will make a lot more sense than what I’ve previously done.

Fourth, my medical billing site is still my biggest Adsense producer, while my anti-smoking site has generated almost nothing, but my medical billing site used to generate way more money than it is now. I’m not sure if Infolinks has taken away from that, but one would hope that the two together would at least equal what I was making before.

No matter. I have big financial goals for my online activities this year, and I figure that my January report has to show at least an increase of 50% over this month to even make me think I have a chance on increasing finances. What you can still believe in, though, is that I still won’t be writing any paid posts, that I won’t be recommending anything I haven’t checked out first, and that I’ll be telling y’all what the heck I’m doing while trying to move forward.

And with that, onward and upward!

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Everyone’s Got An Opinion

Yesterday I was going through some of the forums with my little bit of advertising on my writing services. When I’m posting those articles, I always include a link to some article samples so people can see that I can write different ways on different topics. None of them are overly long, as it’s only supposed to be a sample.

I ended up getting a response from one guy on one of those forums. He wasn’t looking for a writer; he was looking to basically be a jerk. He wrote that he didn’t like my presentation and that no one would ever hire me as a writer if that’s all I could do.

What did I do? I went back to that forum and thanked him for his comment, and moved on. I figured there was no reason to get into a back and forth with the guy because, after all, what would it have solved? My articles are what they are, on my website that I really market the writing services from, and that’s that.

Now, what he could have been griping about is my website, and if that’s the case, well, then that’s only one person’s opinion of what they expect certain websites to look like. Now don’t get me wrong, because something I’m known to do is look at websites and judge them on how well I think they look. However, what I look for is more balance and readability than whether I overly like something or not.

There are things that put off many people, and one of those things is a lack of balance from page to page. Another is multiple fonts on a webpage, and images that suddenly show up without any rhyme or reason. Or content with lots of spelling mistakes. Or a lot of flash or too little flash or, or, or… you decide it.

The truth is there are many different websites, over 120 million at this juncture if we include blogs. Many that look the same are template websites, and many of us hate those because, well, they’re template websites. There are also websites on free platforms, although many of those are starting to go away. There are people who put a website together using programs like MS Publisher, which isn’t really a website tool, and, well, you get what you get. Usually those people haven’t studied some of the nuances of what might make a good website, but still, it assaults your senses.

With that being said, not every webpage is going to be pleasant for everyone. And not every style is supposed to be the same either. My SEO website looks like it does because I wanted it to look that way. Every page is outlined the same, and the menu is in the same place on each page. I marked a couple of my products on each page also; that’s fair, since they’re my products.

No, I’m not asking people whether they like that page or not. I probably should, since it’s supposed to be a business website, but I’m not. It is what it is, just as your site is what it is, and your blog is what it is. I like it, it’s doing okay, and until I get sick of it, that’s just how it’s going to look.

Because, in the end, everyone has an opinion; how often are we supposed to bend to everyone else’s opinions?

Who Are The Affiliate Programs On Your Blog For?

Yesterday I stated in my post on who is your blog for, I stated that there was going to be a second part to that post; this is it.

And you see what the question is; who are the affiliate programs on your blog for? It’s something I’ve been thinking about lately, as I’ve discussed marketing and advertising and blogging.

I think it’s a fascinating topic because I’ve talked about the ads I put on this blog often enough, even as I go through and change them from time to time. I’ve said enough times that I don’t expect to make money from this blog. And yet, there I go, having ads on the blog because I’m really the eternal optimist, hoping that something will strike a cord in someone’s head sometimes and have them say “hey, I need to check that out,”, or “that looks like an interesting product; maybe I’ll buy that.”

So, I did some thinking about this blog and who the visitors are. It kind of ties in with the purpose of this blog. If you remember, I did this post where I reviewed my visitors, and posted that 64% of the people that come to this blog are totally brand new visitors. Based on Analytics, most people are coming here for the book writing tips, which is pretty neat since it’s the term I rank best for with this blog. Yet, when they get here, they tend to like reading the more personal stuff, the stuff that has nothing to do with anything except me, or my thoughts on things here and there.

I find that interesting. In a way, it’s what my original purpose was with this blog, so I’ve actually achieved what I initially set out to do. So then what about the affiliate programs on this blog? Who are they actually geared for? It seems that they’re geared towards those new visitors, the ones who come for one thing and then switch to the other things. Those are the folks I’m hoping will find something intriguing in some fashion, and might decide to check it out. Those folks aren’t coming here to purchase hosting packages or domain names or most of the computer stuff I have on this blog. They’re here for personal reasons, and I like that.

Doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to change the ads I have on the sides all that much, if at all. But I may change them up in some fashion. But the things I add at the bottom of these posts,… well, that’s already kind of changed a bit. I’m still going to have affiliate links from time to time, especially since some of the affiliates I promote here don’t have specific products I can list individually. And I’m going to start looking for product links that I can add as text links within my posts here and there, as it seems some of the top internet marketers, such as Lynn Terry (who mentioned it on her live webinar Tuesday) says they seem to work best for her, and we’ll see where that goes. Matter of fact, I just tried it the other day for the first time; takes a little longer to post if I do that too often. But if it has the potential to possibly make sales on the back end,… well, who am I to argue with successful people?

So, there’s the question above; what say you?
 

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